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Legacy GM Best Recommended GML Tutorial For Beginners (solved)

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RetroGameFan

Guest
I am looking for suggestions for the best GML tutorial for beginners, or those who are very new to game making with GML. I would like to start from scratch, learning in baby steps how to eventually get to a goal I set myself for thoroughly understanding GML, and how all the built-in variables, functions, scripts, etc. work. I would like to have enough practice with GML programming so that I can achieve what I want to accomplish.

Now, I am very, very new to game making, and I have Game Maker Studio 1.4 downloaded to another PC (we recently got a new PC, which is what I'm using right now). I have been in and out of focus on game making for several years.

In the long run, I want to be able to create a Mario educational platformer, particularly in the vein of Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World, although incorporating a bit of dialogue between Mario and/or Luigi and other characters in the game.

Any suggestions for such a tutorial will be appreciated. Thank you.
 

Docker

Member
Heartbeast and Shaun Spalding's tutorials, just go to their youtube and select the playlists. each time you're doing something that isn't explained or you're not aware of then either try to figure it out or press the scroll wheel click on it if its an official command to load the manual and read what it does. Blindly following tutorials won't teach you, active learning and natural inquisitiveness will.
 

TheouAegis

Member
Just open the Help File. While some people here have previous experience with other languages like Python, Pascal, C++, or BASIC, others -- myself included, although I dabbled with BASIC when I was 9 or 10 -- just opened up the Help File and read through it carefully. The Help File has lots of examples in it. Then just open a dummy project and start throwing code into it until you get something that works. Then throw in more code. Then throw in even more code.

Personally, I'm opposed to Shaun's (and HeartBeast's) tutorials. Yes, Shaun is an honorable member around here and yes his tutorials are some of the best known and pretty good for the most part, but they're far from perfect. A lot of questions that pop up around here are about issues in his tutorials. I've seen a couple of them and there were errors they (HeartBeast included) should have edited out. Furthermore, most people these days don't have the patience to actually sit through ALL of their tutorials in order, or even just one tutorial from beginning to end. The videos also expect you to know GML syntax ahead of time. I see too often posts like, "Why is this code not working? I copied Shaun Spalding's tutorial," and the issue was a basic GML syntax error that even the UI flagged them on.

Also, read through the forums, especially the archived forums. I've been a GMC member since 2005. I learned a lot of things about GM not just through my own experimentation but also through posts by other members. The forum moderators aren't just people who sit around at home playing Forum Nazi; a lot of them have been programming with GM for over a decade.
 
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Kyle Rider

Guest
Theou makes a great point, while following along to a tutorial works in the short run, it will leave your code jumbled when you try to add in features from other tutorials. Reading the help file and posting here has really helped me a lot more then tutorials.
 

FrostyCat

Member
Personally, I'm opposed to Shaun's (and HeartBeast's) tutorials. Yes, Shaun is an honorable member around here and yes his tutorials are some of the best known and pretty good for the most part, but they're far from perfect. A lot of questions that pop up around here are about issues in his tutorials. I've seen a couple of them and there were errors they (HeartBeast included) should have edited out. Furthermore, most people these days don't have the patience to actually sit through ALL of their tutorials in order, or even just one tutorial from beginning to end. The videos also expect you to know GML syntax ahead of time. I see too often posts like, "Why is this code not working? I copied Shaun Spalding's tutorial," and the issue was a basic GML syntax error that even the UI flagged them on.
This needs to be emphasized more over the currently in-vogue deference to Spalding/Heartbeast.

Personally these "video tutorials" drive me nuts as to how inflated they make novices feel, without backing them with any reusable skill. They start thinking they're good at GM because they copied what the tutorials showed and got a somewhat believable result. But down at the core, they can't even set or scope a variable right. Neither can they trace code that isn't already commentated by someone else. The instant they set out to do something themselves, they get cut down to size.

Here is a small section of code from Spalding's platformer tutorial:
Code:
key_right = keyboard_check(vk_right);
key_left = -keyboard_check(vk_left);
key_jump = keyboard_check_pressed(vk_space);
move = key_left + key_right;
I can ask a handful of novices to prove why it works, and virtually all would say they can only (or only want to) see it work but not prove it. Anyone who doesn't prove why it works is in no position to build upon it or derive real understanding from it. Novices these days are increasingly worthless without constant visual aid, and this lack of self-initiated fact-checking is part of the problem.

Neither would any of them point out the semantic conflict in the key_left = -keyboard_check(vk_left); line. If later they want to check if a key is pressed for some other purpose, if (key_left) won't work while if (key_right) still does. I don't expect them to see the issue right away, but this total, unquestioning submission to tutorial content has to stop if they are to develop any sense of professional judgment.

Also, read through the forums, especially the archived forums. I've been a GMC member since 2005. I learned a lot of things about GM not just through my own experimentation but also through posts by other members. The forum moderators aren't just people who sit around at home playing Forum Nazi; a lot of them have been programming with GM for over a decade.
I have to disagree with the one about the archived forums. You're looking at this from the wrong perspective.

First of all, the old GMC is next to unusable as a novice resource at this point. It has been entirely de-listed on Google, all they can use is the relatively rough search engine. The wording has to be almost exact, and you have to get it right in one or two shots or it flood-controls. Even I don't have a 100% shot at finding my own posts from memory. From my experience, using it effectively at this point requires considerable time spent on it while it was live, a luxury that recent novices simply don't have.

Another issue is outdated information. As GMS 2 picks up momentum, it may start becoming a source of partial misinformation, like Apprentice/Companion in GMS 1. Filtering out the still applicable from the already obsolete requires historical expertise that novices can't be expected to have.
 

TheouAegis

Member
Another issue is outdated information. As GMS 2 picks up momentum, it may start becoming a source of partial misinformation, like Apprentice/Companion in GMS 1. Filtering out the still applicable from the already obsolete requires historical expertise that novices can't be expected to have.
I had a hunch you or someone else would have brought that up. But it still has tips on useful programming concepts. Torigara's room transition tutorial was outdated shortly after I read it, but it did give me insight into ways to code room transitions even in Studio. If we limit our research to just what works in S2, then we will run out of reference materials.

And i didn't mean search the old forums, i meant read through them. There's at least a month's worth of good reads (and year's worth of crappy reads) still there. :p
 
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RetroGameFan

Guest
Hmm...it seems to me from what I'm hearing here that the Help file is by far the best way to go. I give my thanks to all of you who replied for your help and feedback! And I think I'll feel free to post another thread if I have any difficulties with the Help file. :)
 
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